Wednesday, August 24, 2005

# Posted 1:56 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

OOPS: Dana Milbank has a very interesting column in today's WaPo, albeit accidentally so. Milbank's basic point is that the war in Iraq is a failure. Yawwwn.

But Milbank illustrates his point by demonstrating just how rough the media are on the Bush administration now that the polls have gone sharply against Bush's handling of the war. Consider Milbank's opening sentence:
You knew it was a bad day for the White House when even Fox News was piling on President Bush's counselor, Dan Bartlett.
And here are some more tough questions and comments from the usual suspects:
CBS's Harry Smith: "You have almost two-thirds of the American people thinking the war in Iraq is going badly."

NBC's Matt Lauer: "The Iraqis have once again failed to meet a deadline for a final draft of the constitution."

CNN's Miles O'Brien: "Doesn't look like much progress has been made there."
If you are a regular reader of OxBlog, you can probably already guess what point I'm trying to make: he said/she said journalism is a myth. Journalists have strong opinions and only take limited measure to hide them.

Now, you still might say that journalists are tough during Q&A with White House spokesmen, etc., but then turn around and write balanced articles of the he said/she said variety. But I have dismantled that rationalization already.

So why bother with Milbank's column if I have made this point before? Because I think that this sort of Q&A provides a very good illustration of just how aggressive journalists are in attacking whatever the administration has to say.

Sometimes, that is a very good thing. But over an extended period of time, you can clearly see from the journalists' choice of questions that their own political preferences limit their ability to see and foresee events -- such as the Iraqi elections in January -- that challenge their view of the world.
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